Upcoming Conferences

27 11 2010

Some very interesting conferences and seminars have been announced recently and caught our eyes:

SOAS Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies and Department of Development Studies Joint Seminar with Department of Anthropology seminar series

Wednesday 1st December 3-5 pm Room G51

Nicola Frost (Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies / Food Studies Centre, SOAS)

Making Mela in Brick Lane

The Baishakhi Mela is held annually in May in and around Brick Lane in East London. It celebrates Bengali New Year, and can attract around 100,000 people to the area. The large local Bangladeshi population values the event as an opportunity to gather together, and to present Bangladeshi culinary and musical traditions to a wider audience. What began as a small, community-based affair, has grown to become a huge logistical undertaking, heavy with resonance in local politics, as well as being a significant economic driver for associated businesses. In 2006 and 2007 the Mela was organised through collaboration between the Baishakhi Mela Trust, consisting of local business people and other community workers, and the arts and events team from Tower Hamlets council. This relationship is complex, and open to a variety of conflicting interpretations. Central to these tensions are the interdependent questions of finance and ownership: while control of budgets entails a degree of authority, the festival has its own life and momentum that largely evades attempts to codify, regulate, and strategise. This paper examines these issues with reference to the 2007 event.

All welcome. For further information please contact Paru Raman (pr1@soas.ac.uk)


Tuesday 12 July until Thursday 14 July 2011 at the Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0AL

We would like to extend a very warm invitation to international scholars, researchers, and those with other significant interests in London to join with us, as either a Speaker or a Delegate, to celebrate the launch of this unique annual event!

The great world city of London which is the focus of our conference is the product of some two thousand years of growth and development, setback and renewal. The short passage to and from the North Sea along the River Thames made London one of the major European ports from Roman times onwards. Its maritime significance was eventually consolidated by the opening of its vast dock system in the heyday of the great imperial metropolis from 1800 on. Following further enormous change in the later 20th Century, London Docklands now serve a very different post-industrial function as the financial district moves eastwards and the population and its way of life transforms.

Profoundly historic and yet also ultramodern, London is a city of many different facets, logical and contradictory by turns. It is the seat of both the British monarchy and the home of parliamentary democracy, the two co-existing in what some regard as a typically ingenious British compromise. It is a city dominated by the financial and political industries, and yet these have been profoundly called into question in the new age of austerity and of political reform. And if London led the world in pioneering one of the great public transportation systems, this is now struggling to cope with the demands of the ever larger population – now numbering over seven million – as its members inhabit a city marked by a cultural diversity borne of long-term international migration.

London is marked by the many traditions of great wealth, and yet, in part, still blighted by the scars of poverty and deprivation. A city ravaged, within living memory, by the horrors of world war, its urban landscape has been endlessly transfigured in sometimes spectacular, sometimes merely startling fashion within a few short decades. London thus reflects many of the glories of urbanisation and yet is also marked by many of its inevitable contradictions, from the great beauties of its artistic and architectural heritage to the dramatic challenges it now faces – alongside other world cities – to reduce its excessive carbon footprint, its pollution, and its criminality.

These striking ambiguities provide the context for our conference, at the approaches to Olympic Year 2012, as we seek to analyse, critque and celebrate London’s proud identity and heritage.

CRONEM 7th Annual Conference

Joint international multidisciplinary conference with VU Institute for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society (VISOR), Free University Amsterdam

Global Migration and Multiculturalism: Religion, Society, Policy and Politics

28 – 29 June 2011, University of Surrey (Deadline 15 February 2011)

In our seventh annual conference CRONEM and VISOR want to explore a number of overlapping themes arising from the relationship between global migration and cultural diversity through different disciplinary understandings of the links between religion, society, policy and politics.

The extensive literature, which now exists concerning the movement of people, information and material objects across nation-state borders around the globe, has not only provided us with an understanding of the political economy of this movement but also its social and cultural dimensions. The minorities created by this movement raise crucial issues concerning citizenship rights and duties within modern nation-states and the co-existence of these rights and duties with transnational ties and global imagined communities. Identity politics, minority community representation and how minority individuals relate (and are expected to relate) to the national cultures within which they live present political and policy challenges for nation-states and supra-national entities such as the European Union.

These challenges in many parts of the globe frequently highlight the changing relationship between politics and religion. These changes have been discussed in terms of an emerging ‘post-secular’ society, especially within parts of the European region, for example, or in North America. Other commentators have focussed on the increasing securitisation of both immigration and integration in recent decades and especially since 9/11. In the European region this issue overlaps with religion insofar as Islam(ism), in particular, has come to be perceived as a significant transnational security threat which, in turn, has affected both public and individual perceptions of Muslim minorities within many countries, permeating the media.

These are just two topical examples illustrating the broad spectrum of concerns over the entry, settlement and integration or accommodation of migrants against the backdrop of economic considerations and governmental efforts to control flows. We wish to encourage submission of papers and posters, which focus on this range of issues around the world from different disciplinary perspectives. Papers and posters, which analyse individual perceptions and understandings, are just as welcome as those, which explore group dynamics and collective processes.

Individual paper / poster proposalSymposium proposal

For any additional information, please contact Mrs Mirela Dumic (m.dumic@surrey.ac.uk).

RC 21 in Amsterdam Conference Theme: The struggle to belong – Dealing with diversity in 21st urban settings

Deadline for abstracts: 21 December 2010

We invite proposals for papers for the following theme: Youth geographies and spatial identity

Recognizing that youth researchers have a privileged vantage point from which to view social change and continuity, this is a call for papers that seek to interrogate these themes. How do young people deal with change in their own lives whilst negotiating social, cultural and economic uncertainty in contemporary urban settings?

We invite papers that highlight these issues in any number of ways. Papers are not limited to empirical discussions; we also invite analyses of methodological and ethical matters of concern.


Latin Americans in London

19 11 2010

Latin Americans in London, 22 November – 10 December, 2010

City Hall hosts this special exhibition of photos by Latin-American, London-based photographers Julio Etchart and Alejandro Gortazar, as part of this year’s Latin American Bicentenary celebrations.

Two centuries ago, the area of the world now known as Latin America experienced the first concerted attempts to shed centuries of Spanish and Portuguese rule. The year 1810 marked the beginning of a process that would witness the creation of over a dozen new nations.

This year a number of cultural institutions, pan London organisations and community groups have organised activities to mark this historic anniversary. The Greater London Authority has joined with the Latin American Bicentenary Group to host a series of events to celebrate the bicentenary, and showcase the long and enduring historical and cultural links that exist between Latin America and London.

More information here


Museum of London collection on Latin Americans in London

Living Latin in London: How latin American Migrants Survive in the City, working paper by Dr. Cathy McIlwaine QMUL

Photo of the Latin American festival in London – described on this site.

FiLo Network Meeting

12 11 2010

The Fieldwork in London network (FiLo) is a researcher run and inspired network, that aims to bring together researchers who have chosen London as their field site. Born from the realisation that London has become a popular research site in the area of migration studies, we aimed to link researchers working in the city, to provide both for social support and academic networking opportunities. The ambition is to develop a forum were we can share our experiences of doing research in London and promote the variety of different projects we are basing in the city. While the roots of FiLo can be found at Sussex University it is not university nor discipline bound and welcomes all researchers who feel that their research interest are related to London as a research site.

Next week on Tursday the 18th of November there will be FiLo meeting in the Global Studies Resource Centre between 15:00 and 16:00. The meeting has been organised by the Migration Dphil group to publicise FiLo and hopefully recruit a new generation of FiLo members and administrators to take over from the jaded, living overseas, recently employed, new parents who used to run FiLo: Fran, Ines, Angels and Benji.

Ines and Benji will be present at the meeting to explain what FiLo is, what it does and what it could do/be with more help. The meeting is open to all, and we would like anyone who is doing research in London and would like to be a part of the network, to meet other researchers, or would like to be involved in running the network to come along.

we look forward to meeting you.

London and the ConDem Government

12 11 2010

Now that the ConDem (Conservative and Liberal Democrats) coalition government has settled into the government green leather benches of the house of commons, Britain and London are feeling the effects of their policies … (interesting that in the house of commons the entire front bench of the government are millionaires and the prime minister is a relative of the queen!)

The Conservatives promised a cap on the number of migrants entering the UK, something that will damage the City of London’s competetiveness, deprive the NHS of crucial specialists, damage small businesses, upset Boris Johnson, lead to teacher shortages in London, damage UK science, and damage the hospitality sector, all in all this brainwave, will be disastrous for the British economy and London during this recession. Well done to the economic genius who thought up that policy.

Universities are also going to feel the effects of the migrant cap and cuts, and will become a new generation of top public (which means private fee paying in England) schools. Eton (Oxford) University wants unlimited student fees to swell its assets, which stood at a meagre £3 billion way ahead of third placed Edinburgh with £165 million in assets. If the Browne report recommendations are implemented the nature of universities in Britain will change radically – becoming private customer demand driven services competing with each other for the best paying clients rather than a national system of education.

Students or staff from universities, of course, haven’t been consulted about these plans, and staged a massive protest in London on the 11th. The media was universally shocked and appalled by some broken windows and a bit of a mess and Conservative party headquarters. Baronness Warsi of homophobia was stuck inside, she bravely locked the doors and continued asset stripping the nation while condemning those protesting against the privatisation of education.

Angry anarchists stormed Milbank tower hell-bent on causing mayhem

Students broke some windows after drinking too much cider - Daily Mail shocked

Those last pictures look a bit like the 1980s only slightly more fluorescent  – some are speculating that with the Nasty Party in power economic meltdown, and mass unemployment we will see a return to the 1980s – certainly this slightly over excited commentary on a massive rave in central London last week seemed to think so.

See mydavidcameron.com for more conservative party fun. After converting universities into public schools, the government plans a ‘Kosovo style’ cleansing of the poor from London, with a new housing policy. The social cleansing of London will be implemented by a cap on housing benefits – applying equally to high rent areas (where there are jobs) and low rent areas (where no one wants to live). London risks becoming more like Paris, with a pricy genteel centre segregated by design from the urban jungle of deprivation in the outskirts. This will destroy the unique and joyful mixture of London, where rich and poor, people from different walks of life, class and ethnic origins live side by side… another costly own goal.

Seminars at the Working Lives Research Institute

12 11 2010

After a long abscence – here are some interesting upcoming events in London:

There is a series of seminars at the Working Lives Research Institute scheduled for the 25th-27th November. These Seminars are free, open to all, and there is no need to register.

*First Seminar*: Thursday 25/11/2010 from 1.00 – 2.30 pm *‘Oral History – Theory and Practice’*

Speaker: Professor Joanna Bornat

Joanna Bornat is emeritus professor of oral history at the Open University where her teaching included topics in ageing and social policy as well as oral history. She is also visiting professor at the University of Leeds. Her most recent research interests are both empirical and methodological and include the experiences of overseas-trained South Asian geriatricians in the NHS, the oldest generation and family life, the re-use of archived qualitative data and comparative oral history.

Venue : JS3-95, 31 Jewry Street, London metropolitan University, London EC3N 2EY Map here

Second Seminar: Thursday 25/11/2010 from 4:30 – 6:30 pm *’A different politics is possible: community organising and the living wage’*

Speaker : Deborah Littman

Today trade unions are facing an unprecedented assault on their power to shape the economic and political agenda. In response, we are reaching out beyond the workplace to build links between unions and communities. This is not really a new idea, but a return to something that was an inherent part of the trade union movement at its outset. Using the living wage campaign as an example of successful union/community campaign, this session will explore the principles behind community alliances.

Deborah Littman is a National Officer for UNISON specializing in bargaining research and campaigning on low pay and living wage. Deborah has helped UNISON to build alliances with local community organisations working on living wage campaigns. She is Vice-Chair of the Trustees of London Citizens, a broad-based alliance of community organisations and trade union branches, and sits on the Advisory Committee of the Trust for London Special Initiative on Living Wage. To advance living wage campaigns, Deborah has commissioned, supported and coordinated a range of research projects that focus on the real costs of low pay to UNISON members and the wider community. She has written and spoken on the issues of poverty, low pay, minimum and living wage.

Venue: JS3-95, 31 Jewry Street, London Metropolitan University, London EC3N2EY Map here

Third Seminar: Friday 26/11/2010 from 12.30 – 2:00 pm ‘Abstract Labour in the twenty-first century: Work and Employment in Distribution and Warehousing’

Speaker: Kirsty Newsome

This seminar examines the ‘politics of production’ within grocery warehouse and distribution, in doing so it also highlights the complex connections and linkages between logistics companies and their dominant customers. It is concerned with exploring how employment change with grocery distribution and warehousing necessarily involves mapping these linkages and examining how and in what ways they impact on capital: labour relations. Kirsty Newsome is a senior lecturer in the department of Human Resource Management at the University of Strathclyde. She is also a Research Affiliate at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at UCLA, Los Angeles. Her recent research interests (with colleagues Professor Paul Thompson and Johanna Commander) have been concerned with exploring employment and labour process change in the supermarket supply chain.

Venue: JS1-41, 31 Jewry Street, London metropolitan University, London EC3N 2EY

*Fourth Seminar:* Saturday 27/11/2010 from 9:30 am – 11:00 am *‘Understanding the role of the labour movement in Nigeria: NLC – a catalyst for social movement unionism’ *

Speaker: Dr Michael Oyelere

In order to understand the development of labour movements especially the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which emerged in Nigeria as the sole umbrella trade union centre during an authoritarian military rule, we need to examine not only the conventional practices of work and employment conditions, industrial and economic developments but also the unconventional activities that are in practice as a result of authoritarian rule and corruption, which permeate the polity. The activities of the NLC depict those of modern trade unionism and civic society or human right groups. Based on the experience of NLC, this presentation will illuminate trade unions action in Nigeria during military rule that spanned about two decades 1983 – 1999. This was realised through exploring the origins, emergence and developments of social movement unionism under the reformist military regimes. The presentation concludes with examination of the future of NLC as a social movement union especially given the successful transition to civil rule in 1999.

Michael Oyelere is Lecturer in HRM, in the European Business School London. Michael’s current research interests centre on the systematic testing and development of contemporary institutional theory.Also on recent trends in corporate governance and international politics. Michael is a member of British University Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA),

Venue: Goulston Street, London metropolitan University, Room GSG-17 Map here

These Seminars are free, open to all, and there is no need to register. Contact Jawad Botmeh in JS2-77 for further information on 0207320 3042 j.botmeh@londonmet.ac.uk or visit our website